Tag Archives: Darcy Kuemper

Wild Signs Kuemper To Entry Level Deal

It will be announced this afternoon that the Minnesota Wild has signed goaltending prospect Darcy Kuemper to a three-year entry level deal. Kuemper, who posted eye-popping numbers with the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League last season, was named the WHL Goaltender and Player of the Year.

Kuemper led the WHL in every major goaltending category including wins (45), goals against average (1.86), save percentage (.933) and shutouts (12).

Kuemper’s stellar season led to speculation that he would be difficult to sign, and if the Wild had not come to an agreement with him, he could have regained his draft eligibility in June. That no longer becomes a concern and Kuemper joins the Wild organization that also features highly touted goaltending prospects in German Dennis Endras and Matt Hackett, who has backstopped the Houston Aeros to the Calder Cup Finals.

Check back on Wild.com for further updates.

Khudobin Gets Another Start; Kuemper is WHL Player of the Week

Fresh off his first NHL shutout, Anton Khudobin will make his third consecutive start and his first career road start tonight in Edmonton. No matter the outcome, it could be the last time we see Khudobin for awhile. Niklas Backstrom is expected to return to the crease tomorrow night against Calgary, and Jose Theodore made the trip and could return in the near future.

The Wild has 37 games left in the season, and I imagine all will be labeled “huge” from here on out. But tonight’s game feels even bigger than the last two against Colorado and Vancouver, who are actually in playoff contention.

The Oilers pose a dangerous threat despite being the only Western Conference team that is pretty much ruled out of playoff contention. Coming off a five-game roadie, the Oilers will certainly get a boost from the home crowd and they’ve got plenty of young players that are playing well. Highly-touted rookie Taylor Hall (14 goals, 27 points) is currently on a line with Dustin Penner (14 goals, 29 points) and Ales Hemsky (nine goals, 20 assists). That’s a dangerous line.

The Oilers won’t have another top rookie, Jordan Eberle, who is out with an ankle injury, as is top defenseman Ryan Whitney. Shawn Horcoff, Edmonton’s top scorer against Minnesota, is not yet ready to return from a knee injury.

Despite the injuries, the Wild will want to take these guys very seriously. The Oilers scare me. I still predict a Wild win, and I’ve been right on my predictions the last five out of eight times. Not too shabby.

Speaking of not too shabby, let me talk briefly about Wild goaltending prospect, Darcy Kuemper. This guy is enjoying an absolutely ridiculous season in the Western Hockey League, which is typically known for offense. Kuemper was named the League’s Player of the Week last week after going 3-0-0 with two shutouts and one total goal allowed on 86 shots. That’s a 0.32 goals against average and a .988 save percentage.

This wasn’t the case of Kuemper getting hot, either. He’s been sizzling all season long. He leads every single goaltending category in the WHL including wins (28), goals against average (1.80), save percentage (.933) and shutouts.

It’s pretty clear the future of Wild goaltending looks bright. Matt Hackett has looked like the real deal in his first professional season in Houston. The Wild expects big things from German keeper Dennis Endras, and of course there’s last year’s draft pick, Johan Gustafsson. But nobody has had the kind of year that Kuemper is having.

Green Rallies To Even Training Camp Series

Now I know what the Star Tribune’s Mike Russo (the most intense beat writer in the NHL) deals with on Wild game nights when he has his “gamer” written midway through the second when one team has built a healthy lead. Then, he has to watch in horror as the other team stages a furious rally, and he is forced to start over from scratch.

That was me today as I was watching Scrimmage #2 of the 2010 Wild Training Camp. I was all set to write about how the Whities going to walk away with a 2-1 victory over the Greenies, thanks to two John Madden goals to one Robbie Earl goal. I even had a quip in there about how Robbie Earl was the only guy in a green jersey that has scored in this training camp.

Then, with 13 seconds left in the scrimmage and Josh Tordjman pulled for an extra attacker, Cody Almond struck and tied the game at 2-2. The Green bench went crazy, while the White bench was deflated, and angry.

“The net was off,” said White’s Mikko Koivu in the locker room. “Make sure you write that.”

Green took advantage in a four-round shootout when Tordjman and Darcy Kuemper were shutting the door. There was one game of NHL experience between those two (Tordjman has played one game with Phoenix), but they were shutting down the likes of Koivu, Brent Burns, Martin Havlat, Matt Cullen, Jared Spurgeon and Madden. Finally, Guillaume Latendresse gave Team Green the victory by roofing one past Kuemper.

So, to summarize, Team Green won on a nice goal by Earl, and a nice finish by Almond off a rush from Burns. It was thought that Madden had both White goals, but he apparently thought Cal Clutterbuck got the first one, coming during a scramble in front.

“We got the loss today, but we gained a valuable point,” joked Madden.

As for lines, Antti Miettinen was once again with Koivu and Andrew Brunette. Madden centered Clutterbuck and Chuck Kobasew. Cullen was with Latendresse and Havlat. Kyle Brodziak was with Eric Nystrom and Brad Staubitz. Warren Peters centered Casey Wellman and Colton Gillies. Almond centered Earl and Jarod Palmer/Jean-Michel Daoust.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard did not participate, and neither did Marek Zidlicky. Zid did take the ice for a practice session after the scrimmage.

There was definitely intensity out there once again. Earl got into it with Jamie Fraser along the boards. Clayton Stoner clobbered Peters with a hit in the corner, and later in the shift, Peters delivered a big hit on Stoner, who responded with a slash. At one point, Koivu slapped Burns’ stick about 100 feet into the air.

Todd Richards raved about the depth of his team, and the way younger guys like Wellman, Stoner, Prosser and Earl have played. He also said the true test will be in preseason games, which start Wednesday. Just because it’s the first game of preseason, you can expect a healthy amount of the “big guys” getting ice time. Richards doesn’t want to waste time in getting guys used to each other, and he’s going to give the home crowd more fan favorites to watch. Expect less regulars in the lineup on Friday in St. Louis.

Kuemper, Sallinen and Foucault Get Qualifying Offers

Today was the deadline for NHL teams to grant qualifying offers to certain draft picks. The Wild did not sign Finnish skaters Eero Elo or Harri Ilvonen, and both will re-enter the NHL Draft. Elo was a fifth round pick (145th overall) in the 2008 Draft. Ilvonen was a sixth round pick in the 2007 Draft.

Finnish goaltender Niko Hovinen also was not signed, and he becomes a draft-related free agent. Hovinen was taken in the fifth round (132nd overall) of the 2006 Draft.

The Wild did send qualifying offers to Darcy Kuemper, Jere Sallinen and Kris Foucault and the team will retain the rights to all three through June 1.

In addition to Kyle Medvec, Chris Hickey and Sean Lorenz, Minnesota Gopher recruit Erik Haula and Colgate recruit Anthony Hamburg will remain on the reserve list as unsigned draft choices with “college status.”